It was the Southwest corner’s version of crappy today: high of 68, light breeze, but there were several white clouds in the blue sky. Bummer.
However, the last two weeks, we have had rain. This is good, you see. We haven’t had any rain like for the last four hundred thousand millenniums. However, the weather guessers are predicting doom, not good. For you see, they know the rain is good, but it makes things grow, and for weather guessers who are trying to keep their watchers and listeners on edge, it means there will be more vegetation to burn when the fires come again. Weather guessers have a penchant for making things bad regardless how good they are…sort of like some clown saying a few clouds make it crappy.
But one thing that is good about the rain it clears things up. Yesterday, going from the mainland over that beautiful blue arch of the Coronado, San Diego Bay Bridge, it was clear. So clear, Maureen and i could see for miles, all the way to the horizon, crystal clear, no marine layer. We could see all of the Los Coronados Islands, all of them, and the hundreds of sailboats off the coast with their spinnakers unfurled, catching the wind, and the white sails in the bay, the dark blue-gray of the ocean and bay sparkling.
We were going to see a play: “Camping with Tom and Henry,” a fictional comedy-drama about Thomas Edison and Henry Ford taking Warren G. Harding on a camping trip in 1921. Thought provoking, relevant to today, funny, and sad. It was the Sunday matinee at Coronado’s Lamb’s Theater.
i like drama, plays. i don’t have anything against movies. In fact, my wife and two daughters are aficionados when it comes to movies. Most of my friends enjoy movies. Me? Perhaps i’m too critical, not into making gore as realistic as possible, not enthralled with graphics, not into making something as much like life as possible. After all, life can be pretty miserable at times. Oh, i loved oaters and spaghetti westerns. And i even liked some comedies, even some chick flicks like “You’ve Got Mail,” and “French Kiss” but then again, i was in love with Meg Ryan before she did that thing with her face which seems to be a popular things now a days with women. You know that skin stretching, bio something, they do that make them look like mannequins, distorted mannequins. And i remain a big fan of Christmas movies, almost all of them, “Silverado,” and “Hidalgo.” “Star Wars” sort of wore me out, and the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies failed to match my imagination when i read the books a long time ago and several years after that and pretty much every three or four years after that until they came out with the movies with that wimpy Frodo. And Maureen and i could watch “The Quiet Man” pretty much end on end until the end of time. And yeh, there are several others but i really don’t even know who the actors are now a days unless they are in a television commercial they run during sports events. Sorry. i’m glad other people enjoy them, even wish i did sometimes, but it ain’t me, babe.
But plays? There’s an edge there in live drama. And they have to project. You can get wrapped up, but it’s not reality and you know it. It’s your imagination and theirs and you can see it and feel it. No, i’m not talking about all of those silly things with flying wires and fantastical makeup and smoke and mirrors. i’m talking about acting, drama, real, no kidding, no retakes acting. i like it.
And we went. And i enjoyed the hell out of it. And we went over to our friends’ house afterwards. Pete and Nancy Toennies. And we all went to dinner at the Bleu Boheme in Kensington and i refrained from ordering the mussels, something i’ve never done before, and i even refrained from a martini, which goes well with such an atmosphere and had some wonderful pork dish which i cannot pronounce because i can’t do French well and Maureen is used to saying all things French for me (and then giving me shit about it, which i deserve) and the world was fine, beautiful, and mine for a day.
But i’ve been thinking about that rain. i love the rain. i especially love Tennessee rain in August when the heat and the humidity are draining you and you know you are going to early football practice and lose ten or fifteen pounds of water weight and you walk out the front door of that little house with the Chinese elm in the front yard and you can smell the rain on the wind and there is a coolness, perhaps just in your mind but you can feel it and you can smell it and you see it coming moving like wisps of relief in your mind and the world stops for a moment to let you smell and feel the rain.
i used to like to run in the rain. i loved running in the rain on the beach. One day about a million years ago, i took my usual run at lunch from the Naval Amphibious School, Coronado. i chose to run the long route around the island. i was not much further than a block or two from my start when it began raining. i continued. i kept at it, rerouting to extend my running in the rain, around the island and then when i got to back to the beach i chose to run between the beach and the Hotel del Coronado before the development men and the investment men gussied it all up and raised the prices to keep the riffraff like me from going and i ran on the sidewalks about a foot in water and i got to the end of the hotel property and they had put up a temporary fence to keep the riffraff like me from running through that water but i had fooled them by coming from the other way but the fence was still in the way so i climbed the fence because those California folks weren’t about to be out in that rain and i ran back to the base, late because my run of forty-five minutes had been rerouted into water running, fence jumping hour and a half and i was beat to hell but totally exhilarated like that time in Sri Lanka when the Aussies took us out in the country for a “Hash House Harriers” run and they let us out of the bus and the trail started out running on the berms of rice fields and up the hills into the unknown and it started to rain and we ran down the hill following the trail through a village of mud huts with grass roofs, no shit, and could look in the glassless windows to see life as we didn’t know it so we kept running through the rain where the old man in the white robe and a white beard looking like a guru motioned us to run into a dead end canyon and when we turned around and came out he was laughing like a mad man and the rain got harder and the incline increased until we came to a bluff where the only way down was to slide down the side by holding onto the vines so we wouldn’t plunge to stupid death and reaching the bottom we ran on the road for another mile after the last nine or ten or lord knows how long with the detours and the old man and the mud huts and we were knee deep in the monsoon rain and we reached the covered shelter where the buses were parked but we ran into the shelter and grabbed the steaks off the Aussies’ barbies with our hands and grabbed the Fosters out of the ice bins and drank and laughed like crazy with the Aussies and…oh yes, i could go on no doubt but i remember the rain. i wrote about it once because of two women. One is with me today. The other might have been here instead in a different world with a different end or i might have been there in a different world with a different end but it didn’t happen sort of like a parallel and less dramatic Sayonara like Michener wrote and the movies butchered it and i am glad i wasn’t like the movie or how i would dream it would turn out then but when it rains i think of both of those two women like when i wrote this:
You never smell the rain coming here. It just arrives, usually descending from an established grayness. Sometimes it comes in a sudden sweep but always from the west, expected, not interrupted in its journey as the land abuts Balboa’s folly to the west.
Back down in the heart of Tennessee rivers, hills and lakes, the rain has no season but comes of its own accord, its own rhythm, its schedule not dictated by some seasonal order.
It is more whimsical. There you can smell the rain coming. It clears the nostrils and lungs, smelling more fresh than wet, more cleansing. Out here, there is oil from the earth, dust from the desert air to the east, and salt from the sea that mutes the feel of coming rain, chokes off the smell of fresh rain. Back in Tennessee after the smell awakens your attention, you can see it rolling across the hills in sheets, the sight of it sweeping across the country embellishes the smell of the rain.
Today is a warmer version of Tennessee rain. In the summer, i would infrequently walk hatless in the Tennessee rain, but only alone. Many years ago, i would walk the beach or countryside of Virginia or Newport, Rhode Island in all but the coldest, breath-of-sleet rain. One year on the island of Kyushu, i walked the harbor roadsides of Sasebo in the rain, the only time i have pursued such an individual, quiet joy with someone else.
Delicate and tiny, Kosyko was exquisite with her dark hair wet but tightly clinging to her skull exposing her delicate neck; you know Japanese think the neck of the woman is a key to beauty. It rained a lot on Kyushu. The rain and her parents tragic fate in Nagasaki may have contributed to my love for her .
Here, over on the island that has covered its charm with tourist dollar chasing, i used to run in the rain. This was before encroaching baldness made a visor look out of place on my head. i would wear an old visor from Texas A&M – where i never walked nor ran in the rain and never smelled it either – to ward off the rain drops from my eyes.
This afternoon, i would like to walk with my lifetime love in the rain. We would not talk, i envision and more or less say to hell with all but us. She would be just as exquisite as tiny Kosyko with her hair clinging closely to her skull exposing her delicate neck and the Japanese had it right. i would not love her more. i already have pegged out that meter. i could just have another way to love her again.
i wish that she could smell the rain coming in Tennessee with me.